Veterinary Oncology
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Cancer is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. It is found in animals as well as humans. There are many different types of cancer that are found in animals, symptoms are often similar to those in people (eg. abnormal swelling, unexplained weight loss, lethargy / reluctance to exercise etc). Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in companion animals such as dogs and cats, it is particularly common in animals that live 10 years or longer. If treatment is appropriate this may include chemotherapy and surgery or radiotherapy.

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Veterinary Oncology Links
Recent Publications

Veterinary Oncology Links (11 links)


Recent Publications

Gracanin A, Voorwald FA, van Wolferen M, et al.
Marginal activity of progesterone receptor B (PR-B) in dogs but high incidence of mammary cancer.
J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2014; 144 Pt B:492-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Progesterone plays an important role in the normal development and carcinogenesis of the mammary gland. In vitro studies have shown that the canine progesterone receptor B (cPR-B), which is essential for mammary development in the mouse, does not transactivate reporter constructs containing progesterone response elements. Therefore, the question was raised whether the cPR-B was completely devoid of transactivation potential of endogenous progesterone regulated genes. Canine mammary cell lines expressing doxycycline-inducible cPR-B, human PR-B or a chimera in which the canine B-upstream segment (BUS) was replaced by a human BUS were treated for 24h with doxycycline, progesterone or a combination of the two. The expression profiling was subsequently performed using a dog-specific microarray and miRNA primers. Incubation of stably transfected cell lines with doxycycline or progesterone alone, did not change expression of any endogenous gene. Expression of activated human PR-B or the chimera of human BUS with the canine PR resulted in differential expression of >500 genes whereas the activated cPR-B regulated only a subset of 40 genes and to a limited extent. The relevance of the marginal transactivation potential or the consequence of a lack of cPR-B function for the carcinogenesis of mammary gland tumors is discussed.


Rodriguez CO
Using canine osteosarcoma as a model to assess efficacy of novel therapies: can old dogs teach us new tricks?
Adv Exp Med Biol. 2014; 804:237-56 [PubMed] Related Publications
Since its domestication more than 10,000 years ago, the dog has been the animal that most intimately shares our work and homelife. Interestingly, the dog also shares many of our diseases including cancer such as osteosarcoma. Like the human, osteosarcoma is the most common bone malignancy of the dog and death from pulmonary metastasis is the most common outcome. The incidence of this spontaneous bone neoplasm occurs ten times more frequently that it does so in children with about 8,000-10,000 cases estimated to occur in dogs in the USA. Because there is no "standard of care" in veterinary medicine, the dog can also serve us by being a model for this disease in children. Although the most common therapy for the dog with osteosarcoma is amputation followed by chemotherapy, not all owners choose this route. Consequently, novel therapeutic interventions can be attempted in the dog with or without chemotherapy that could not be done in humans with osteosarcoma due to ethical concerns. This chapter will focus on the novel therapies in the dog that have been reported or are in veterinary clinical trials at the author's institution. It is hoped that collaboration between veterinary oncologists and pediatric oncologists will lead to the development of novel therapies for (micro- or macro-) metastatic osteosarcoma that improve survival and might ultimately lead to a cure in both species.

Related: Bone Cancers Interleukin 2 (Aldesleukin) Signal Transduction Gemcitabine


Paoloni M, Webb C, Mazcko C, et al.
Prospective molecular profiling of canine cancers provides a clinically relevant comparative model for evaluating personalized medicine (PMed) trials.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(3):e90028 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Molecularly-guided trials (i.e. PMed) now seek to aid clinical decision-making by matching cancer targets with therapeutic options. Progress has been hampered by the lack of cancer models that account for individual-to-individual heterogeneity within and across cancer types. Naturally occurring cancers in pet animals are heterogeneous and thus provide an opportunity to answer questions about these PMed strategies and optimize translation to human patients. In order to realize this opportunity, it is now necessary to demonstrate the feasibility of conducting molecularly-guided analysis of tumors from dogs with naturally occurring cancer in a clinically relevant setting.
METHODOLOGY: A proof-of-concept study was conducted by the Comparative Oncology Trials Consortium (COTC) to determine if tumor collection, prospective molecular profiling, and PMed report generation within 1 week was feasible in dogs. Thirty-one dogs with cancers of varying histologies were enrolled. Twenty-four of 31 samples (77%) successfully met all predefined QA/QC criteria and were analyzed via Affymetrix gene expression profiling. A subsequent bioinformatics workflow transformed genomic data into a personalized drug report. Average turnaround from biopsy to report generation was 116 hours (4.8 days). Unsupervised clustering of canine tumor expression data clustered by cancer type, but supervised clustering of tumors based on the personalized drug report clustered by drug class rather than cancer type.
CONCLUSIONS: Collection and turnaround of high quality canine tumor samples, centralized pathology, analyte generation, array hybridization, and bioinformatic analyses matching gene expression to therapeutic options is achievable in a practical clinical window (<1 week). Clustering data show robust signatures by cancer type but also showed patient-to-patient heterogeneity in drug predictions. This lends further support to the inclusion of a heterogeneous population of dogs with cancer into the preclinical modeling of personalized medicine. Future comparative oncology studies optimizing the delivery of PMed strategies may aid cancer drug development.

Related: Cancer Prevention and Risk Reduction


Malho P, Dunn K, Donaldson D, et al.
Investigation of prognostic indicators for human uveal melanoma as biomarkers of canine uveal melanoma metastasis.
J Small Anim Pract. 2013; 54(11):584-93 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate if 14 genes that discriminate metastasising and non-metastasising human uveal melanomas can differentiate metastasising and non-metastasising uveal melanomas in dogs.
METHODS: Nineteen archival biopsies of eyes with a histopathological classification of primary benign (n = 9) and malignant (n = 10) uveal melanoma were selected. Thoracic and/or abdominal metastases confirmed metastatic spread of the primary tumour in seven dogs during the follow-up period. Gene expression was assayed by Reverse Transcription-quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction. Genes displaying statistically significant differences in expression between the metastasising and non-metastasising tumours were identified.
RESULTS: Four genes (HTR2B, FXR1, LTA4H and CDH1) demonstrated increased expression in the metastasising uveal melanomas.
CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: This preliminary study illustrates the potential utility of gene expression markers for predicting canine uveal melanoma metastasis. The genes displaying elevated expression in the metastasising tumours are part of a 12-discriminating gene set used in a routine assay, performed on fine needle aspirate biopsies collected without enucleation, for predicting human uveal melanoma metastasis. Further work is required to validate the results.

Related: Melanoma Ocular Melanoma IntraOcular Melanoma


Elliker KR, Sommerville BA, Broom DM, et al.
Key considerations for the experimental training and evaluation of cancer odour detection dogs: lessons learnt from a double-blind, controlled trial of prostate cancer detection.
BMC Urol. 2014; 14:22 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cancer detection using sniffer dogs is a potential technology for clinical use and research. Our study sought to determine whether dogs could be trained to discriminate the odour of urine from men with prostate cancer from controls, using rigorous testing procedures and well-defined samples from a major research hospital.
METHODS: We attempted to train ten dogs by initially rewarding them for finding and indicating individual prostate cancer urine samples (Stage 1). If dogs were successful in Stage 1, we then attempted to train them to discriminate prostate cancer samples from controls (Stage 2). The number of samples used to train each dog varied depending on their individual progress. Overall, 50 unique prostate cancer and 67 controls were collected and used during training. Dogs that passed Stage 2 were tested for their ability to discriminate 15 (Test 1) or 16 (Tests 2 and 3) unfamiliar prostate cancer samples from 45 (Test 1) or 48 (Tests 2 and 3) unfamiliar controls under double-blind conditions.
RESULTS: Three dogs reached training Stage 2 and two of these learnt to discriminate potentially familiar prostate cancer samples from controls. However, during double-blind tests using new samples the two dogs did not indicate prostate cancer samples more frequently than expected by chance (Dog A sensitivity 0.13, specificity 0.71, Dog B sensitivity 0.25, specificity 0.75). The other dogs did not progress past Stage 1 as they did not have optimal temperaments for the sensitive odour discrimination training.
CONCLUSIONS: Although two dogs appeared to have learnt to select prostate cancer samples during training, they did not generalise on a prostate cancer odour during robust double-blind tests involving new samples. Our study illustrates that these rigorous tests are vital to avoid drawing misleading conclusions about the abilities of dogs to indicate certain odours. Dogs may memorise the individual odours of large numbers of training samples rather than generalise on a common odour. The results do not exclude the possibility that dogs could be trained to detect prostate cancer. We recommend that canine olfactory memory is carefully considered in all future studies and rigorous double-blind methods used to avoid confounding effects.

Related: Prostate Cancer


London CA, Bernabe LF, Barnard S, et al.
Preclinical evaluation of the novel, orally bioavailable Selective Inhibitor of Nuclear Export (SINE) KPT-335 in spontaneous canine cancer: results of a phase I study.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(2):e87585 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the activity of Selective Inhibitors of Nuclear Export (SINE) compounds that inhibit the function of the nuclear export protein Exportin 1 (XPO1/CRM1) against canine tumor cell lines and perform a Phase I clinical trial of KPT-335 in dogs with spontaneous cancer to provide a preliminary assessment of biologic activity and tolerability.
METHODS AND FINDINGS: Canine tumor cell lines derived from non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), mast cell tumor, melanoma and osteosarcoma exhibited growth inhibition and apoptosis in response to nanomolar concentrations of SINE compounds; NHL cells were particularly sensitive with IC50 concentrations ranging from 2-42 nM. A Phase I clinical trial of KPT-335 was performed in 17 dogs with NHL (naive or relapsed), mast cell tumor or osteosarcoma. The maximum tolerated dose was 1.75 mg/kg given orally twice/week (Monday/Thursday) although biologic activity was observed at 1 mg/kg. Clinical benefit (CB) including partial response to therapy (PR, n = 2) and stable disease (SD, n = 7) was observed in 9/14 dogs with NHL with a median time to progression (TTP) for responders of 66 days (range 35-256 days). A dose expansion study was performed in 6 dogs with NHL given 1.5 mg/kg KPT-335 Monday/Wednesday/Friday; CB was observed in 4/6 dogs with a median TTP for responders of 83 days (range 35-354 days). Toxicities were primarily gastrointestinal consisting of anorexia, weight loss, vomiting and diarrhea and were manageable with supportive care, dose modulation and administration of low dose prednisone; hepatotoxicity, anorexia and weight loss were the dose limiting toxicities.
CONCLUSIONS: This study provides evidence that the novel orally bioavailable XPO1 inhibitor KPT-335 is safe and exhibits activity in a relevant, spontaneous large animal model of cancer. Data from this study provides critical new information that lays the groundwork for evaluation of SINE compounds in human cancer.

Related: Cancer Prevention and Risk Reduction


Thamm DH, Vail DM, Kurzman ID, et al.
GS-9219/VDC-1101--a prodrug of the acyclic nucleotide PMEG has antitumor activity in spontaneous canine multiple myeloma.
BMC Vet Res. 2014; 10:30 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Multiple myeloma (MM) is an important human and canine cancer for which novel therapies remain necessary. VDC-1101 (formerly GS-9219), a novel double prodrug of the anti-proliferative nucleotide analog 9-(2-phosphonylmethoxyethyl) guanine (PMEG), possesses potent cytotoxic activity in vitro in human lymphoblasts and leukemia cell lines and in vivo in spontaneous canine lymphoma. Given the similarity in lineage between lymphoma and MM, we hypothesized that VDC-1101 would be active against MM.
RESULTS: We evaluated the in vitro antiproliferative effects of VDC-1101 against 3 human MM cell lines, and we performed a phase-II clinical trial in 14 dogs with spontaneous MM. Each dog was treated with a maximum of 6 doses of VDC-1101 monotherapy over 10-15 weeks. Dose-dependent antiproliferative activity was observed in all evaluated cell lines. Major antitumor responses (reduction of serum paraprotein and resolution of hypercalcemia, peripheral cytopenias and bone marrow plasmacytosis) were observed in 9 of 11 evaluable dogs for a median of 172 days, including a durable stringent complete response (>1047 days) in a dog with melphalan-refractory disease. 2 dogs were euthanized due to presumed pulmonary fibrosis; there were no other dose-limiting toxicities encountered.
CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, VDC-1101 has significant anti-tumor activity at well-tolerated doses in spontaneous canine MM.

Related: Myeloma Myeloma - Molecular Biology


Terragni R, Casadei Gardini A, Sabattini S, et al.
EGFR, HER-2 and KRAS in canine gastric epithelial tumors: a potential human model?
PLoS One. 2014; 9(1):e85388 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR or HER-1) and its analog c-erbB-2 (HER-2) are protein tyrosine kinases correlated with prognosis and response to therapy in a variety of human cancers. KRAS mediates the transduction of signals between EGFR and the nucleus, and its mutation has been identified as a predictor of resistance to anti-EGFR drugs. In human oncology, the importance of the EGFR/HER-2/KRAS signalling pathway in gastric cancer is well established, and HER-2 testing is required before initiating therapy. Conversely, this pathway has never been investigated in canine gastric tumours. A total of 19 canine gastric epithelial neoplasms (5 adenomas and 14 carcinomas) were retrospectively evaluated for EGFR/HER-2 immunohistochemical expression and KRAS mutational status. Five (35.7%) carcinomas were classified as intestinal-type and 9 (64.3%) as diffuse-type. EGFR was overexpressed (≥ 1+) in 8 (42.1%) cases and HER-2 (3+) in 11 (57.9%) cases, regardless of tumour location or biological behaviour. The percentage of EGFR-positive tumours was significantly higher in the intestinal-type (80%) than in the diffuse-type (11.1%, p = 0.023). KRAS gene was wild type in 18 cases, whereas one mucinous carcinoma harboured a point mutation at codon 12 (G12R). EGFR and HER-2 may be promising prognostic and therapeutic targets in canine gastric epithelial neoplasms. The potential presence of KRAS mutation should be taken into account as a possible mechanism of drug resistance. Further studies are necessary to evaluate the role of dog as a model for human gastric cancer.

Related: ERBB2 (HER2) Stomach Cancer Gastric Cancer


Pang LY, Gatenby EL, Kamida A, et al.
Global gene expression analysis of canine osteosarcoma stem cells reveals a novel role for COX-2 in tumour initiation.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(1):e83144 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Osteosarcoma is the most common primary bone tumour of both children and dogs. It is an aggressive tumour in both species with a rapid clinical course leading ultimately to metastasis. In dogs and children distant metastasis occurs in >80% of individuals treated by surgery alone. Both canine and human osteosarcoma has been shown to contain a sub-population of cancer stem cells (CSCs), which may drive tumour growth, recurrence and metastasis, suggesting that naturally occurring canine osteosarcoma could act as a preclinical model for the human disease. Here we report the successful isolation of CSCs from primary canine osteosarcoma, as well as established cell lines. We show that these cells can form tumourspheres, and demonstrate relative resistance to chemotherapy. We demonstrate similar results for the human osteosarcma cell lines, U2OS and SAOS2. Utilizing the Affymetrix canine microarray, we are able to definitively show that there are significant differences in global gene expression profiles of isolated osteosarcoma stem cells and the daughter adherent cells. We identified 13,221 significant differences (p = 0.05), and significantly, COX-2 was expressed 141-fold more in CSC spheres than daughter adherent cells. To study the role of COX-2 expression in CSCs we utilized the COX-2 inhibitors meloxicam and mavacoxib. We found that COX-2 inhibition had no effect on CSC growth, or resistance to chemotherapy. However inhibition of COX-2 in daughter cells prevented sphere formation, indicating a potential significant role for COX-2 in tumour initiation.

Related: Bone Cancers COX2 (PTGS2) Doxorubicin Osteosarcoma


Marech I, Patruno R, Zizzo N, et al.
Masitinib (AB1010), from canine tumor model to human clinical development: where we are?
Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2014; 91(1):98-111 [PubMed] Related Publications
Masitinib mesylate (AB1010) is a novel potent and selective tyrosine kinase inhibitor, targeting mainly wild-type and mutated c-Kit receptor (c-KitR), Platelet Derived Growth Factor Receptor-alfa/beta (PDGFRa/ß), Lymphocyte-specific kinase (Lck), Lck/Yes-related protein (LYn), Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor 3 (FGFR3) and Focal Adhesion Kinase (FAK). It is the first anticancer therapy approved in veterinary medicine for the treatment of unresectable canine mast cell tumors (CMCTs), harboring activating c-KitR mutations, at dose of 12.5mg/kg once daily. Considering its anti-proliferative action, principally given by inhibiting the MCs c-KitR anti-angiogenic pathway that leads cancer progression, and its role as chemosensitizer, masitinib is under clinical investigation in several human malignancies (Gastro-Intestinal Stromal Tumors, acute myeloid leukemia, systemic mastocytosis, pancreatic cancer, multiple myeloma, non-small cell lung cancer, melanoma, ovarian and prostate cancer), which are characterized by similar canine c-KIT proto-oncogene mutations. Here, we analyze masitinib structure activity, its pharmacokinetics compared to imatinib, the c-KitR pathway referring to the most frequent c-KIT mutations sensitive or resistant to this novel drug compared to imatinib, and masitinib safety profile. We, also, explore preclinical and clinical (completed and ongoing) trials with the aim to emphasize as this recent anti-angiogenic therapy, at first approved in CMCTs and, currently in development for the treatment of several human neoplasms, could be represent a milestone in translational oncology, in which the murine experimental model of cancer research could be integrated by canine spontaneous tumor model.


Kool MM, Galac S, Kooistra HS, Mol JA
Expression of angiogenesis-related genes in canine cortisol-secreting adrenocortical tumors.
Domest Anim Endocrinol. 2014; 47:73-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aim of this study was to evaluate the expression of angiogenesis-related genes in canine cortisol-secreting adrenocortical tumors (ATs). Quantitative RT-PCR analysis revealed mRNA encoding for vascular endothelial growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor receptors 1 and 2, angiopoietin 1 and 2 (ANGPT1 and ANGPT2), the splice variant ANGPT2443, the ANGPT-receptor Tie2, and basic fibroblast growth factor in 38 canine cortisol-secreting ATs (26 carcinomas and 12 adenomas) and 15 normal adrenals. The relative expression of both ANGPT2 and ANGPT2443 was higher in adenomas (P = 0.020 for ANGPT2 and P = 0.002 for ANGPT2443) and carcinomas (P = 0.003 for ANGPT2 and P < 0.001 for ANGPT2443) compared with normal adrenals, and this enhanced expression was also detected with Western blot analysis. Immunohistochemistry indicated expression of ANGPT2 protein in AT cells and in vascular endothelial cells of carcinomas, whereas Tie2 was mainly present in the tumor vascular endothelial cells. The ANGPT2-to-ANGTPT1 ratio, a marker for a proangiogenic state, was higher in both adenomas (P = 0.020) and carcinomas (P = 0.043). With the use of the human H295R cortisol-producing adrenocortical carcinoma cell line, we were able to demonstrate that the ANGPT2 expression was stimulated by cyclic adenosine monophosphate and progesterone but not by cortisol. In conclusion, canine cortisol-secreting ATs have enhanced ANGPT2 expression with a concomitant shift toward a proangiogenic state. On the basis of this information, treatment modalities may be developed that interfere with ANGPT2 expression, including inhibition of the cyclic adenosine monophosphate/protein kinase A pathway, or of the effect of ANGPT2, by using specific ANGPT2 inhibitors.


Cho YW, Kim SY, Kwon IC, Kim IS
Complex adaptive therapeutic strategy (CATS) for cancer.
J Control Release. 2014; 175:43-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tumors begin with a single cell, but as each tumor grows and evolves, it becomes a wide collection of clones that display remarkable heterogeneity in phenotypic features, which has posed a big challenge to current targeted anticancer therapy. Intra- and inter-tumoral heterogeneity is attributable in part to genetic mutations but also to adaptation and evolution of tumors to heterogeneity in tumor microenvironments. If tumors are viewed not only as a disease but also as a complex adaptive system (CAS), tumors should be treated as such and a more systemic approach is needed. Some of many tumors therapeutic strategies are discussed here from a view of a tumor as CAS, which can be collectively called a complex adaptive therapeutic strategy (CATS). The central theme of CATS is based on three intermediate concepts: i) disruption of artifacts, ii) disruption of connections, and iii) reprogramming of cancer-immune dynamics. Each strategy presented here is a piece of the puzzle for CATS. Although each piece by itself may be neither novel nor profound, an assembled puzzle could be a novel and innovative cancer therapeutic strategy.

Related: Cancer Prevention and Risk Reduction


Chen HW, Small GW, Motsinger-Reif A, et al.
VH1-44 gene usage defines a subset of canine B-cell lymphomas associated with better patient survival.
Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2014; 157(3-4):125-30 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/02/2015 Related Publications
The use of specific immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region (VH) genes has been associated with increased patient survival in human B-cell lymphomas (hBCL). Given the similarity of human and canine BCL (cBCL) in morphology and clinical treatment, we examined the choice of VH in cBCL and determined whether VH gene selection was a distinct feature associated with survival time in dogs. VH gene selection and mutational status in 52 cBCL, including 29 diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (cDLBCL, the most common subtype of cBCL), were analyzed by comparison with the 80 published canine germline VH gene sequences. We further examined the prognostic impact of the subgroups defined by these features on canine survival. We found that VH1-44 was preferentially expressed in the majority of the 52 cBCLs (60%) as well as in the majority of the cDLBCL subset (59%). VH1-44 gene expression was associated with a statistically better overall survival (p=0.039) in cBCL patients, as well as in the cDLBCL subset of patients (p=0.038). These findings suggest that VH gene selection in cBCL is not random and may therefore have functional implications for cBCL lymphomagenesis, in addition to being a useful prognostic biomarker.


Watanabe S, Ito J, Baba T, et al.
Notch2 transduction by feline leukemia virus in a naturally infected cat.
J Vet Med Sci. 2014; 76(4):553-7 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/02/2015 Related Publications
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) induces neoplastic and nonneoplastic diseases in cats. The transduction of cellular genes by FeLV is sometimes observed and associated with neoplastic diseases including lymphoma and sarcoma. Here, we report the first natural case of feline Notch2 transduction by FeLV in an infected cat with multicentric lymphoma and hypercalcemia. We cloned recombinant FeLVs harboring Notch2 in the env gene. Notch2 was able to activate expression of a reporter gene, similar to what was previously reported in cats with experimental FeLV-induced thymic lymphoma. Our findings suggest that the transduction of Notch2 strongly correlates with FeLV-induced lymphoma.

Related: NOTCH2 gene


Scharf VF, Farese JP, Siemann DW, et al.
Effects of aurothiomalate treatment on canine osteosarcoma in a murine xenograft model.
Anticancer Drugs. 2014; 25(3):332-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Osteosarcoma is a highly fatal cancer, with most patients ultimately succumbing to metastatic disease. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of the antirheumatoid drug aurothiomalate on canine and human osteosarcoma cells and on canine osteosarcoma growth and metastasis in a mouse xenograft model. We hypothesized that aurothiomalate would decrease osteosarcoma cell survival, tumor cellular proliferation, tumor growth, and metastasis. After performing clonogenic assays, aurothiomalate or a placebo was administered to 54 mice inoculated with canine osteosarcoma. Survival, tumor growth, embolization, metastasis, histopathology, cell proliferation marker Ki67, and apoptosis marker caspase-3 were compared between groups. Statistical analysis was carried out using the Kaplan-Meier method with the log-rank test and one-way analysis of variance with the Tukey's test or Dunn's method. Aurothiomalate caused dose-dependent inhibition of osteosarcoma cell survival (P<0.001) and decreased tumor growth (P<0.001). Pulmonary macrometastasis and Ki67 labeling were reduced with low-dose aurothiomalate (P=0.033 and 0.005, respectively), and tumor emboli and pulmonary micrometastases were decreased with high-dose aurothiomalate (P=0.010 and 0.011, respectively). There was no difference in survival, tumor development, ulceration, mitotic indices, tumor necrosis, nonpulmonary metastases, and caspase-3 labeling. Aurothiomalate treatment inhibited osteosarcoma cell survival and reduced tumor cell proliferation, growth, embolization, and pulmonary metastasis. Given aurothiomalate's established utility in canine and human medicine, our results suggest that this compound may hold promise as an adjunctive therapy for osteosarcoma. Further translational research is warranted to better characterize the dose response of canine and human osteosarcoma to aurothiomalate.

Related: Apoptosis Bone Cancers CASP3 MKI67 Osteosarcoma


Nielsen CE, Wang X, Robinson RJ, et al.
Carcinogenic and inflammatory effects of plutonium-nitrate retention in an exposed nuclear worker and beagle dogs.
Int J Radiat Biol. 2014; 90(1):60-70 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Plutonium-nitrate has a moderately rapid translocation rate from the lung to blood stream. Previous studies have shown an unexpected retention of soluble plutonium in the beagles and human case studied here. The inflammatory responses that may be associated with long-term exposure to ionizing radiation were characterized. These pathways include tissue injury, apoptosis, and gene expression modifications. Other protein modifications related to carcinogenesis and inflammation and the various factors that may play a role in orchestrating complex interactions which influence tissue integrity following irradiation were investigated.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We have examined numerous lung samples from a plutonium-exposed worker, a human control, and a variety of plutonium-exposed beagle dogs using immunohistochemistry and quantitative Reverse Transcriptase-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR).
RESULTS: The exposed human showed interstitial fibrosis in peripheral regions of the lung, but no pulmonary tumors. Beagles with similar doses were diagnosed with tumors in bronchiolo-alveolar, peripheral and sub-pleural alveolar regions of the lung. The terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay showed an elevation of apoptosis in tracheal mucosa, tumor cells, and nuclear debris in the alveoli and lymph nodes of the beagles but not in the human case. In both the beagles and human there were statistically significant modifications in the expression of Fas ligand (FASLG), B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL2), and Caspase 3 (CASP3).
CONCLUSIONS: The data suggests that FASLG, BCL2, CASP3 and apoptosis play a role in the inflammatory responses following prolonged plutonium exposure. Utilizing these unique tissues revealed which pathways are triggered following the internal deposition and long-term retention of plutonium-nitrate in a human and a large animal model.


Yamazaki H, Takagi S, Hoshino Y, et al.
Inhibition of survivin influences the biological activities of canine histiocytic sarcoma cell lines.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(11):e79810 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/02/2015 Related Publications
Canine histiocytic sarcoma (CHS) is an aggressive malignant neoplasm that originates from histiocytic lineage cells, including dendritic cells and macrophages, and is characterized by progressive local infiltration and a very high metastatic potential. Survivin is as an apoptotic inhibitory factor that has major functions in cell proliferation, including inhibition of apoptosis and regulation of cell division, and is expressed in most types of human and canine malignant neoplasms, including melanoma and osteosarcoma. To investigate whether survivin was expressed at high levels in CHS and whether its expression was correlated with the aggressive biological behavior of CHS, we assessed relation between survivin expression and CHS progression, as well as the effects of survivin inhibition on the biological activities of CHS cells. We comparatively analyzed the expression of 6 selected anti-apoptotic genes, including survivin, in specimens from 30 dogs with histiocytic sarcoma and performed annexin V staining to evaluate apoptosis, methylthiazole tetrazolium assays to assess cell viability and chemosensitivity, and latex bead assays to measure changes in phagocytic activities in 4 CHS cell lines and normal canine fibroblasts transfected with survivin siRNA. Survivin gene expression levels in 30 specimens were significantly higher than those of the other 6 genes. After transfection with survivin siRNA, apoptosis, cell growth inhibition, enhanced chemosensitivity, and weakened phagocytic activities were observed in all CHS cell lines. In contrast, normal canine fibroblasts were not significantly affected by survivin knockdown. These results suggested that survivin expression may mediate the aggressive biological activities of CHS and that survivin may be an effective therapeutic target for the treatment of CHS.

Related: Apoptosis


Pillai A, Moghe S, Gupta MK, Pathak A
A complex odontoma of the anterior maxilla associated with an erupting canine.
BMJ Case Rep. 2013; 2013 [PubMed] Related Publications
Many developmental anomalies of the jaw are accidentally diagnosed during radiographic investigations for other symptoms. Complex odontomas are odontogenic tumours, relatively rare in the anterior maxilla and generally asymptomatic. Frequently the odontoma may interfere with the eruption of teeth. This paper describes a case of complex odontoma in an 8-year-old girl, which resulted in the palatal displacement of the lateral incisor and an erupting permanent canine. A calcified mass was seen on the radiograph and was provisionally diagnosed as an odontoma which was surgically enucleated. Routine follow-up was carried out for more than 1 year and no recurrence was seen.


Comazzi S, Guscetti F, Marconato L
First meeting of the European canine lymphoma group. Workshop: state of the art and comparative aspects in canine lymphoma. CH-Lugano, 22 June 2013.
Hematol Oncol. 2014; 32(2):68-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
This satellite meeting to the 12th International Conference on Malignant Lymphoma was conceived to bring together European researchers focused on canine lymphoma to explore several facets of this promising model of human disease. A series of invited lectures showed striking similarities between the two diseases namely in topics related to pathogenesis, diagnosis and classification and therapy. In particular, the potential value of the model was shown at the level of the NF-kB/p65 pathway, the Bcl-2 family of proteins, Ki67 and the S-phase fraction, as well as the MMPs, VEGF and PDGF. The utility of the growing body of well-characterized canine cell lines was stressed. The value of cytology and flow cytometry as tools for diagnosis, disease progression monitoring and prognosis were emphasized, whereas the failure so far of the standard immunohistochemical panel to differentiate between germinal centre and non-germinal centre diffuse large B-cell lymphomas subtypes in dogs was discussed. Further contributions included the report of encouraging results from a chemo-immunotherapy trial administered to dogs with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, an overview on the use of radiation therapy for canine lymphoma and the role of surgery in splenic lymphoma. Altogether, the success of this meeting, attended by more than 160 participants, documents the rising interest for the spontaneous canine lymphoma model.


Pratschke KM, Atherton MJ, Sillito JA, Lamm CG
Evaluation of a modified proportional margins approach for surgical resection of mast cell tumors in dogs: 40 cases (2008-2012).
J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2013; 243(10):1436-41 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate a modified proportional margins approach to resection of mast cell tumors (MCTs) in dogs.
DESIGN: Retrospective case series.
ANIMALS: 40 dogs with subcutaneous and cutaneous MCTs undergoing curative intent surgery.
PROCEDURES: Medical records were searched to identify dogs with a cytologically or histologically confirmed diagnosis of MCT that had not previously been treated surgically and that had undergone full oncological staging. In those dogs, tumors were resected with lateral margins equivalent to the widest measured diameter of the tumor and a minimum depth of 1 well-defined fascial plane deep to the tumor. Surgical margins were evaluated histologically. Cutaneous tumors were graded by use of the Patnaik system and the 2-tier system described by Kiupel et al. The prognosis for subcutaneous tumors was assessed in accordance with published recommendations. Follow-up information on dog health status was obtained through clinical examination, the dog owners, and the referring veterinarians.
RESULTS: The 40 dogs had 47 tumors. Forty-one (87%) tumors were cutaneous, and 6 (13%) were subcutaneous. On the basis of the Patnaik system, 21 (51%) cutaneous tumors were considered grade I, 18 (44%) were considered grade II, and 2 (5%) were considered grade III. On the basis of the Kiupel system, 37 (90%) cutaneous tumors were considered low grade, and 4 (10%) were considered high grade. The prognosis for the 6 subcutaneous tumors was classified as likely resulting in a shorter (2) or longer (4) survival time. Forty tumors were deemed to have been excised with clear margins and 7 with incomplete margins. Local recurrence was not recorded for any dog but was suspected for 1 (2%) tumor, although not confirmed. Interval from tumor excision to follow-up ranged from 30 to 1,140 days (median, 420 days).
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The modified proportional margins system resulted in satisfactory local disease control in dogs with MCTs.

Related: Skin Cancer


Debinski W, Dickinson P, Rossmeisl JH, et al.
New agents for targeting of IL-13RA2 expressed in primary human and canine brain tumors.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(10):e77719 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/02/2015 Related Publications
Interleukin 13 receptor alpha 2 (IL-13RA2) is over-expressed in a vast majority of human patients with high-grade astrocytomas like glioblastoma. Spontaneous astrocytomas in dogs resemble human disease and have been proposed as translational model system for investigation of novel therapeutic strategies for brain tumors. We have generated reagents for both detection and therapeutic targeting of IL-13RA2 in human and canine brain tumors. Peptides from three different regions of IL-13RA2 with 100% sequence identity between human and canine receptors were used as immunogens for generation of monoclonal antibodies. Recombinant canine mutant IL-13 (canIL-13.E13K) and canIL-13.E13K based cytotoxin were also produced. The antibodies were examined for their immunoreactivities in western blots, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence and cell binding assays using human and canine tumor specimen sections, tissue lysates and established cell lines; the cytotoxin was tested for specific cell killing. Several isolated MAbs were immunoreactive to IL-13RA2 in western blots of cell and tissue lysates from glioblastomas from both human and canine patients. Human and canine astrocytomas and oligodendrogliomas were also positive for IL-13RA2 to various degrees. Interestingly, both human and canine meningiomas also exhibited strong reactivity. Normal human and canine brain samples were virtually negative for IL-13RA2 using the newly generated MAbs. MAb 1E10B9 uniquely worked on tissue specimens and western blots, bound live cells and was internalized in GBM cells over-expressing IL-13RA2. The canIL-13.E13K cytotoxin was very potent and specific in killing canine GBM cell lines. Thus, we have obtained several monoclonal antibodies against IL-13RA2 cross-reacting with human and canine receptors. In addition to GBM, other brain tumors, such as high grade oligodendrogliomas, meningiomas and canine choroid plexus papillomas, appear to express the receptor at high levels and thus may be appropriate candidates for IL-13RA2-targeted imaging/therapies. Canine spontaneous primary brain tumors represent an excellent translational model for human counterparts.

Related: Monoclonal Antibodies


van Rijn SJ, Riemers FM, van den Heuvel D, et al.
Expression stability of reference genes for quantitative RT-PCR of healthy and diseased pituitary tissue samples varies between humans, mice, and dogs.
Mol Neurobiol. 2014; 49(2):893-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Pituitary surgery generates pituitary tissue for histology, immunohistochemistry, and molecular biological research. In the last decade, the pathogenesis of pituitary adenomas has been extensively studied in humans, and to a lesser degree in dogs, and tumor oncogenesis has been studied in knock-out mice, often by means of quantitative reversed-transcriptase PCR (RT-qPCR). A precondition of such analyses is that so-called reference genes are stably expressed regardless of changes in disease status or treatment. In this study, the expression of six frequently used reference genes, namely, tata box binding protein (tbp), tyrosine 3-monooxygenase/tryptophan 5-monooxygenase activation protein, zeta polypeptide (ywhaz), hydroxymethylbilane synthase (hmbs), beta-2-microglobulin (b2m), succinate dehydrogenase complex subunit A (sdha), and glyceraldehyde 3 phosphate dehydrogenase 1 (gapdh), was studied in pituitary tissue (normal and adenoma) from three species (humans, mice, and dogs). The stability of expression of these reference genes differed between species and between healthy and diseased tissue within one species. Quantitative analysis based on a single reference gene that is assumed to be stably expressed might lead to wrong conclusions. This cross-species analysis clearly emphasizes the need to evaluate the expression stability of reference genes as a standard and integral aspect of study design and data analysis, in order to improve the validity of the conclusions drawn on the basis of quantitative molecular analyses.

Related: Pituitary Tumors


Simpson RM, Bastian BC, Michael HT, et al.
Sporadic naturally occurring melanoma in dogs as a preclinical model for human melanoma.
Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2014; 27(1):37-47 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/02/2015 Related Publications
Melanoma represents a significant malignancy in humans and dogs. Different from genetically engineered models, sporadic canine melanocytic neoplasms share several characteristics with human disease that could make dogs a more relevant preclinical model. Canine melanomas rarely arise in sun-exposed sites. Most occur in the oral cavity, with a subset having intra-epithelial malignant melanocytes mimicking the in situ component of human mucosal melanoma. The spectrum of canine melanocytic neoplasia includes benign lesions with some analogy to nevi, as well as invasive primary melanoma, and widespread metastasis. Growing evidence of distinct subtypes in humans, differing in somatic and predisposing germ-line genetic alterations, cell of origin, epidemiology, relationship to ultraviolet radiation and progression from benign to malignant tumors, may also exist in dogs. Canine and human mucosal melanomas appear to harbor BRAF, NRAS, and c-kit mutations uncommonly, compared with human cutaneous melanomas, although both species share AKT and MAPK signaling activation. We conclude that there is significant overlap in the clinical and histopathological features of canine and human mucosal melanomas. This represents opportunity to explore canine oral cavity melanoma as a preclinical model.

Related: Melanoma Oral Cancer Skin Cancer


Campbell LF, Farmery L, George SM, Farrant PB
Canine olfactory detection of malignant melanoma.
BMJ Case Rep. 2013; 2013 [PubMed] Related Publications
Our patient is a 75-year-old man who presented after his pet dog licked persistently at an asymptomatic lesion behind his right ear. Examination revealed a nodular lesion in the postauricular sulcus. Histology confirmed malignant melanoma, which was subsequently excised. Canine olfactory detection of human malignancy is a well-documented phenomenon. Advanced olfaction is hypothesised to explain canine detection of bladder, breast, colorectal, lung, ovarian, prostate and skin cancers. Further research in this area may facilitate the development of a highly accurate aid to diagnosis for many malignancies, including melanoma.

Related: Melanoma Skin Cancer


Gillard M, Cadieu E, De Brito C, et al.
Naturally occurring melanomas in dogs as models for non-UV pathways of human melanomas.
Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2014; 27(1):90-102 [PubMed] Related Publications
Spontaneously occurring melanomas are frequent in dogs. They appear at the same localizations as in humans, i.e. skin, mucosal sites, nail matrix and eyes. They display variable behaviors: tumors at oral localizations are more frequent and aggressive than at other anatomical sites. Interestingly, dog melanomas are associated with strong breed predispositions and overrepresentation of black-coated dogs. Epidemiological analysis of 2350 affected dogs showed that poodles are at high risk of developing oral melanoma, while schnauzers or Beauce shepherds mostly developped cutaneous melanoma. Clinical and histopathological analyses were performed on a cohort of 153 cases with a 4-yr follow-up. Histopathological characterization showed that most canine tumors are intradermal and homologous to human rare morphological melanomas types - 'nevocytoid type' and 'animal type'-. Tumor cDNA sequencing data, obtained from 95 dogs for six genes, relevant to human melanoma classification, detected somatic mutations in oral melanoma, in NRAS and PTEN genes, at human hotspot sites, but not in BRAF. Altogether, these findings support the relevance of the dog model for comparative oncology of melanomas, especially for the elucidation of non-UV induced pathways.

Related: Melanoma Oral Cancer


Hwang CC, Umeki S, Kubo M, et al.
Oncolytic reovirus in canine mast cell tumor.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(9):e73555 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/02/2015 Related Publications
The usage of reovirus has reached phase II and III clinical trials in human cancers. However, this is the first study to report the oncolytic effects of reovirus in veterinary oncology, focusing on canine mast cell tumor (MCT), the most common cutaneous tumor in dogs. As human and canine cancers share many similarities, we hypothesized that the oncolytic effects of reovirus can be exploited in canine cancers. The objective of this study was to determine the oncolytic effects of reovirus in canine MCT in vitro, in vivo and ex vivo. We demonstrated that MCT cell lines were highly susceptible to reovirus as indicated by marked cell death, high production of progeny virus and virus replication. Reovirus induced apoptosis in the canine MCT cell lines with no correlation to their Ras activation status. In vivo studies were conducted using unilateral and bilateral subcutaneous MCT xenograft models with a single intratumoral reovirus treatment and apparent reduction of tumor mass was exhibited. Furthermore, cell death was induced by reovirus in primary canine MCT samples in vitro. However, canine and murine bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMCMC) were also susceptible to reovirus. The combination of these results supports the potential value of reovirus as a therapy in canine MCT but warrants further investigation on the determinants of reovirus susceptibility.

Related: Apoptosis


Mudaliar MA, Haggart RD, Miele G, et al.
Comparative gene expression profiling identifies common molecular signatures of NF-κB activation in canine and human diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL).
PLoS One. 2013; 8(9):e72591 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/02/2015 Related Publications
We present the first comparison of global transcriptional changes in canine and human diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), with particular reference to the nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) pathway. Microarray data generated from canine DLBCL and normal lymph nodes were used for differential expression, co-expression and pathway analyses, and compared with analysis of microarray data from human healthy and DLBCL lymph nodes. The comparisons at gene level were performed by mapping the probesets in canine microarrays to orthologous genes in humans and vice versa. A considerable number of differentially expressed genes between canine lymphoma and healthy lymph node samples were also found differentially expressed between human DLBCL and healthy lymph node samples. Principal component analysis using a literature-derived NF-κB target gene set mapped to orthologous canine array probesets and human array probesets clearly separated the healthy and cancer samples in both datasets. The analysis demonstrated that for both human and canine DLBCL there is activation of the NF-κB/p65 canonical pathway, indicating that canine lymphoma could be used as a model to study NF-κB-targeted therapeutics for human lymphoma. To validate this, tissue arrays were generated for canine and human NHL and immunohistochemistry was employed to assess NF-κB activation status. In addition, human and canine B-cell lymphoma lines were assessed for NF-κB activity and the effects of NF-κB inhibition.


Wiese DA, Thaiwong T, Yuzbasiyan-Gurkan V, Kiupel M
Feline mammary basal-like adenocarcinomas: a potential model for human triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) with basal-like subtype.
BMC Cancer. 2013; 13:403 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/02/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths. Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), an immunophenotype defined by the absence of immunolabeling for estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and HER2 protein, has a highly aggressive behavior. A subpopulation of TNBCs exhibit a basal-like morphology with immunohistochemical positivity for cytokeratins 5/6 (CK5/6) and/or epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and have a high incidence of BRCA (breast cancer susceptibility) mutations. Feline mammary adenocarcinomas (FMAs) are highly malignant and share a similar basal-like subtype. The purpose of this study was to classify FMAs according to the current human classification of breast cancer that includes evaluation of ER, PR and HER2 status and expression of basal CK 5/6 and EGFR. Furthermore, we selected triple negative, basal-like FMAs to screen for BRCA mutations similar to those described in human TNBC.
METHODS: Twenty four FMAs were classified according to the current human histologic breast cancer classification including immunohistochemistry (IHC) for ER, PR HER2, CK5/6 and EGFR. Genetic alteration and loss of heterozygosity of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes were analyzed in triple negative, basal-like FMAs.
RESULTS: IHC for ER, PR and HER2 identified 14 of the 24 (58%) FMAs as a triple negative. Furthermore, 11 of these 14 (79%) triple negative FMAs had a basal-like subtype. However, no genetic abnormalities were detected in BRCA1 and BRCA2 by direct sequencing and loss of heterozygosity analysis.
CONCLUSION: FMAs are highly aggressive neoplasms that are commonly triple negative and exhibit a basal-like morphology. This is similar to human TNBC that are also commonly classified as a basal-like subtype. While sequencing of a select number of triple negative, basal-like FMAs and testing for loss of heterozygosity of BRCA1 and BRCA2 did not identify mutations similar to those described in human TNBC, further in-depth evaluation is required to elucidate a potential role of BRCA in the tumorigenesis of triple negative, basal-like FMAs. The strong similarities in clinical behavior, morphology and IHC phenotype suggest that triple negative, basal-like FMAs may be a suitable spontaneous animal model for studying novel therapeutic approaches against human basal-like TNBC.

Related: BRCA1 BRCA2


Condiotti R, Goldenberg D, Giladi H, et al.
Transduction of fetal mice with a feline lentiviral vector induces liver tumors which exhibit an E2F activation signature.
Mol Ther. 2014; 22(1):59-68 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/02/2015 Related Publications
Lentiviral vectors are widely used in basic research and clinical applications for gene transfer and long-term expression; however, safety issues have not yet been completely resolved. In this study, we characterized hepatocarcinomas that developed in mice 1 year after in utero administration of a feline-derived lentiviral vector. Mapped viral integration sites differed among tumors and did not coincide with the regions of chromosomal aberrations. Furthermore, gene expression profiling revealed that no known cancer-associated genes were deregulated in the vicinity of viral integrations. Nevertheless, five of the six tumors exhibited highly significant upregulation of E2F target genes, of which a majority are associated with oncogenesis, DNA damage response, and chromosomal instability. We further show in vivo and in vitro that E2F activation occurs early on following transduction of both fetal mice and cultured human hepatocytes. On the basis of the similarities in E2F target gene expression patterns among tumors and the lack of evidence implicating insertional mutagenesis, we propose that transduction of fetal mice with a feline lentiviral vector induces E2F-mediated major cellular processes that drive hepatocytes toward uncontrolled proliferation culminating in tumorigenesis.

Related: Liver Cancer


Horvath G, Andersson H, Nemes S
Cancer odor in the blood of ovarian cancer patients: a retrospective study of detection by dogs during treatment, 3 and 6 months afterward.
BMC Cancer. 2013; 13:396 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/02/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: In recent decades it has been noted that trained dogs can detect specific odor molecules emitted by cancer cells. We have shown that the same odor can also be detected in the patient's blood with high sensitivity and specificity by trained dogs. In the present study, we examined how the ability of dogs to detect this smell was affected by treatment to reduce tumor burden, including surgery and five courses of chemotherapy.
METHODS: In Series I, one drop of plasma from each of 42 ovarian cancer patients (taken between the fifth and sixth courses of chemotherapy) and 210 samples from healthy controls were examined by two trained dogs. All 42 patients in Series I had clinical complete responses, all except two had normal CA-125 values and all were declared healthy after primary treatment. In Series II, the dogs examined blood taken from a new subset of 10 patients at 3 and 6 months after the last (sixth) course of chemotherapy.
RESULTS: In Series I, the dogs showed high sensitivity (97%) and specificity (99%), for detecting viable cancer cells or molecular cancer markers in the patients' plasma. Indeed, 29 of 42 patients died within 5 years. In Series II, the dogs indicated positive samples from three of the 10 patients at both the 3- and 6-month follow-up. All three patients had recurrences, and two died 3-4 years after the end of treatment. This was one of the most important findings of this study. Seven patients were still alive in January 2013.
CONCLUSIONS: Although our study was based on a limited number of selected patients, it clearly suggests that canine detection gave us a very good assessment of the prognosis of the study patients. Being able to detect a marker based on the specific cancer odor in the blood would enhance primary diagnosis and enable earlier relapse diagnosis, consequently increasing survival.

Related: Ovarian Cancer


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